Rahul Gandhi’s controversial remarks on Punjab youth

CHANDIGARH (TIP): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on October 11 at Panjab University here that “Seven out of 10 youth in Punjab have drug problems.” He said “A diplomat told me that 21st century’s Saudia Arabia is India.” Rahul said the diplomat had told him that just as the 20th century was dominated by Saudi Arabia because of its oil reserves, the 21s century belongs to India because of its young population and “human resources”.

Referring to Punjab, Gandhi said: “What is happening to human resource in Punjab. Seven out of 10 youths have the problem of drugs.” Mr Gandhi, wearing a white kurta and jeans, said that the government in Punjab, run by the Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not providing opportunities for the state’s youth. “We send scholarship money for SC, ST (Scheduled Castes/Tribes) categories. It is not utilized here (in Punjab) and is sent back,” he said. ‘We want you to come into politics, cleanse it and change it,’ Mr Gandhi told Congress youth workers at the Punjab University campus in Chandigarh.

‘I have been in politics for eight years. One thing I see clearly, the level of participation of youths is not there. Whether in jobs, corruption, development, you are the solution. You have to run this country. You have the power and the knowledge to run it,’ he said. Gandhi said that the NSUI and the Youth Congress, the student and youth wings of the 127-year-old party, were the only ones to give youths a chance to enter politics. ‘Doors of politics were closed for you. We opened them in NSUI and Youth Congress. Today, lakhs of youths, who do not have any relatives in politics, are in our organization. When we talked of elected NSUI and Youth Congress in Punjab, other parties said this cannot be done. We did it and showed to them not only in Punjab but whole of India,’ he asserted.

He said that when other parties are asked about elections (for youth), they do not reply. Gandhi said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the National Democratic Alliance it leads were opposing the Congress policies without any basis. ‘Our government brought FDI. Its meaning is giving the farmer his rightful share. When the BJP and NDA government were in Delhi, they were not opposed to FDI. We did it, they are opposing it. We gave MGNREGA (rural employment scheme) and land acquisition bill, they have opposed it too.’ ‘They want to stop work. Ask them what you want to do, they will not reply. Whatever Congress wants to do, they want to stop. Because they know that if they let us work, we will change this country. But we will not stop. We have the power of the youth and the future,’ he added. Earlier, Gandhi met senior Congress leaders at the Punjab state Congress headquarters here to get a feedback on the party’s situation in the state.

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